Rorty, Davidson, and Metaphor
In his essay "What Metaphors Mean," Donald Davidson gave a striking view of metaphor, claiming that metaphorical utterances have no meaning beyond the literal meanings of the words contained in them. Richard Rorty claims that this view of metaphor can be used to argue that cultural, moral, and scientific change (all products of metaphor) are contingent. I will argue that Davidson's view of metaphor is not consistent with Davidson's overall principles of theory construction, and, hence, is not consistent with his theory of linguistic meaning. Furthermore, I will argue that Rorty himself has significantly misinterpreted Davidson's theory of metaphor.